There’s no time like the present to start a dog dental care routine. Ideally, you should be brushing your dog’s teeth every day to prevent bad breath and tartar buildup, which can lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is serious; it not only causes your dog pain, it can also affect organ and body functions. And because it’s irreversible, prevention is the best you can do.
So how can you start a dog dental care routine? Build a kit filled with everything you’ll need to care for your dog’s teeth, from toothbrushes and toothpaste to products that promote dental health.
1. Toothbrush and Toothpaste
These are the most important items in your dental care kit. You’ll want to select a toothbrush with an angled tip that makes it easy to reach the back of your dog’s mouth, or a rubber finger brush that fits over your finger (many dogs more easily accept a finger brush than an actual toothbrush). With Nylabone’s Advanced Oral Care Kit, you can try both for $8 if you’re a PetPlus member. The kit also includes a peanut butter flavored toothpaste, and dogs go crazy for the stuff. You should never use human toothpaste on a dog as it could be toxic; stick to toothpastes intended for furry friends, and choose a flavor that will make brushing time fun.
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Want to give your dog dental care routine a leg up? Incorporate a mouthwash, like C.E.T. Aquadent, which is formulated by veterinary dental specialists. A mouthwash helps to whiten your dog’s teeth, freshen their breath, and even removes plaque and tartar buildup. All you have to do is add a small amount to your dog’s water every day and bingo! Your dog won’t taste it, but you’ll notice the difference in their teeth. Brushing + mouthwash = dental disease one-two punch.
3. Dental Treats
It’s great to reward your dog with a treat every once in a while, but when you do, you should consider giving a treat that has health benefits. Greenies are easily digestible, toothbrush-shaped dental chews that freshen your dog’s breath and have a textured surface to remove plaque and tartar. And they really work (I’ve tried them on my dog). Unfortunately, Greenies are pretty expensive. But with a PetPlus membership, they can cost a lot less — 46% less in fact. They make a great addition to a dog dental care kit.
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4. Dental Dog Food
While any dog can develop periodontal disease, some breeds — such as brachycephalic breeds with flat faces and small and toy breeds with tiny mouths — are most at risk. Ask your veterinarian if you should be feeding your dog a food that promotes dental health, such as Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental Dry Dog Food. The texture and shape of the food helps to “brush” the surface of the teeth while your dog eats, sodium tripolyphosphate helps to reduce plaque buildup, and minerals improve digestive function, which can affect dental health.
What’s in your dog dental care kit? Leave a comment and let us know, and if you need to stock up, consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at PetPlus.com.